Half a century ago, Belgian Zoologist Bernard Heuvelmans first codified cryptozoology in his book On the Track of Unknown Animals.

The Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ) are still on the track, and have been since 1992. But as if chasing unknown animals wasn't enough, we are involved in education, conservation, and good old-fashioned natural history! We already have three journals, the largest cryptozoological publishing house in the world, CFZtv, and the largest cryptozoological conference in the English-speaking world, but in January 2009 someone suggested that we started a daily online magazine! The CFZ bloggo is a collaborative effort by a coalition of members, friends, and supporters of the CFZ, and covers all the subjects with which we deal, with a smattering of music, high strangeness and surreal humour to make up the mix.

It is edited by CFZ Director Jon Downes, and subbed by the lovely Lizzy Bitakara'mire (formerly Clancy), scourge of improper syntax. The daily newsblog is edited by Corinna Downes, head administratrix of the CFZ, and the indexing is done by Lee Canty and Kathy Imbriani. There is regular news from the CFZ Mystery Cat study group, and regular fortean bird news from 'The Watcher of the Skies'. Regular bloggers include Dr Karl Shuker, Dale Drinnon, Richard Muirhead and Richard Freeman.The CFZ bloggo is updated daily, and there's nothing quite like it anywhere else. Come and join us...

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Sunday, May 15, 2011


In Fortean Fives the great and the good of Forteana pick out Five interesting events from the history of Forteana. If you want to submit your own Fortean Five email it to Oll Lewis at fortean5s@gmail.com. Todays Fortean Five is compiled by Andrew May, who writes the Forteana Blog and compiles our round-ups of international CFZ activities. Take it away, Andrew:

[1] The appearance of a young Uri Geller on the Dimbleby Talk-In (23 November 1973). The show was memorable not just for Geller's (at the time completely new) stage act, but for the fact that Professor John Taylor of King's College London, brought on as a sceptical scientist, was completely taken in by it all, and underwent a quasi-religious conversion in front of the TV cameras! A couple of years later I went to a lecture by Prof. Taylor on the paranormal, and he was still a complete believer in it.

[2] The premiere of Ray Santilli's Alien Autopsy film at the Museum of London (5 May 1995). To anyone with any experience of the field the footage was an obvious hoax, and yet it was lapped up by the public and the media because -- just at that moment -- it filled a desperate need created by a combination of the X-Files and pre-millennial tension. BUFORA staked its reputation on the film's authenticity... and when it was shown to be a hoax, British ufology died its much-publicized death!

[3] The death of Princess Diana (31 August 1997). I was tempted to write "the assassination of Princess Diana", but she wasn't assassinated -- she died in a road traffic accident. This inconvenient fact doesn't stop the conspiracy theorists, however... and also a surprisingly large number of "ordinary people" who refuse to believe that a famous person is capable of dying an accidental death! It's this refusal to believe the obvious that transforms the event from something mundane into something Fortean.

[4] The revelation of the Third Secret of Fatima (26 June 2000). This was a mystery that had been speculated on for a long time (the original vision occurred in 1917, and the "secret" was written down and sealed in 1944)... and it's the kind of mystery that is only interesting as long as it remains a mystery! The fun was spoiled in the year 2000 when Pope John Paul II authorized publication of the secret. Conspiracy theorists refuse to believe that the published version is the "true" secret, of course -- although personally I'm sure it is.

[5] The "Da Vinci Code trial" -- Baigent and Leigh, claimants, versus the Random House Group, defendant (trial started on 27 Feb 2006). There was a time when The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail was a book known only to Forteans and New Agers, but its popularity was boosted first by Dan Brown's blockbuster The Da Vinci Code, and then by Baigent and Leigh's lawsuit accusing The Da Vinci Code of plagiarism. During the trial it became clear that the judge, Justice Peter Smith, knew a lot more about HBHG than Dan Brown did (he'd actually read it from cover to cover, for example) and his final judgment is a more entertaining read than The Da Vinci Code (it even contains its own coded message... probably a first in English Law)!
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